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Moderna completes enrollment in large COVID-19 vaccine study - Devdiscourse
(https://bit.ly/2IOmy6U) Moderna said its study includes more than 11,000 participants from minority communities, including 6,000 Hispanic or Latin-American participants and more than 3,000 Black or African-American participants. The company said it would ev…
Moderna Inc said on Thursday it had completed the enrollment of 30,000 participants in a late-stage study testing its experimental coronavirus vaccine, with over a third of the participants from communities of color. Over 25,650 participants have so far received their second shot of the vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, the company said. (https://bit.ly/2IOmy6U) Moderna said its study includes more than 11,000 participants from minority communities, including 6,000 Hispanic or Latin-American participants and more than 3,000 Black or African-American participants. The company said it would evaluate the study's risks and benefits before submitting an emergency-use application for the vaccine to the U.S. health regulator. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires at least two months of safety data after a full vaccination regime to review applications for emergency use authorization of an experimental vaccine.
UK study finds loss of smell most reliable indicator of COVID-19 - Devdiscourse
The cohort study, which assessed health data from primary care centres in London and is published in ‘PLOS Medicine' this week, found that 78 per cent of people who reported sudden loss of smell and/or taste at the height of the pandemic had SARS-CoV-2 or COV…
An acute loss of smell or taste is a "highly reliable" coronavirus indicator and should now be considered globally as a criterion for self-isolation, testing, and contact tracing, according to a research by UK scientists. The cohort study, which assessed health data from primary care centres in London and is published in 'PLOS Medicine' this week, found that 78 per cent of people who reported sudden loss of smell and/or taste at the height of the pandemic had SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 antibodies. Of these people, 40 per cent did not have a cough or fever. According to experts, it is the first time such a figure has been calculated. "As we approach a second wave of infections, early recognition of COVID-19 symptoms by the public together with rapid self-isolation and testing will be of vital importance to limit the disease's spread," said lead author professor Rachel Batterham, from University College London (UCL) Medicine and UCL Hospitals. "Our findings show that loss of smell and taste is a highly reliable indicator that someone is likely to have COVID-19 and if we are to reduce the spread of this pandemic, it should now be considered by governments globally as a criterion for self-isolation, testing, and contact tracing," said Batterham. "While people in the UK who experience sudden onset loss of smell or taste are advised to self-isolate and seek a test, at a global level few countries recognise this symptom as a COVID-19 indicator: most focus on fever and respiratory symptoms," she said. Recruitment to the study took place between April 23 and May 14 at the peak of the pandemic by sending text messages to people registered with a number of primary care centres in London who had reported sudden loss in their sense of smell and/or taste. A total of 590 participants enrolled via a web-based platform and responded to questions about loss of smell and taste and other COVID-19 related symptoms. Of these, 567 then had a telemedicine consultation with a healthcare professional who confirmed the history of their symptoms and supervised a test to find out if they had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. A total of 77.6 per cent of 567 people with smell and/or taste loss had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies; of these 39.8 per cent had neither cough nor fever, and participants with loss of smell were three times more likely to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, compared with those with loss of taste. "Our research suggests a key public health message should be: people who notice a loss in their ability to smell everyday household odours such as garlic, onions, coffee, and perfumes should self-isolate and seek a coronavirus PCR swab test," Batterham said. While it has been known for some time that COVID-19 can cause loss or reduced ability to smell (anosmia) or taste, without cough or fever, existing data had suggested a prevalence of smell and/or taste loss in the range of 31-85 per cent in COVID-19 patients. This is the first study of its kind to try and establish the proportion of those who had experienced loss of smell and or taste as having COVID-19. The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at UCLH, where Batterham is Obesity Theme Director..
Second alignment plane of solar system discovered - Devdiscourse
A study of comet motions indicates that the solar system has a second alignment plane. Analytical investigation of the orbits of long-period comets shows that the aphelia of the comets, the point where they are farthest from the Sun, tend to fall close to eit…
A study of comet motions indicates that the solar system has a second alignment plane. Analytical investigation of the orbits of long-period comets shows that the aphelia of the comets, the point where they are farthest from the Sun, tend to fall close to either the well-known ecliptic plane where the planets reside or a newly discovered 'empty ecliptic.' This has important implications for models of how comets originally formed in the solar system. In the solar system, the planets and most other bodies move in roughly the same orbital plane, known as the ecliptic, but there are exceptions such as comets. Comets, especially long-period comets taking tens of thousands of years to complete each orbit, are not confined to the area near the ecliptic; they are seen coming and going in various directions. Models of solar system formation suggest that even long-period comets originally formed near the ecliptic and were later scattered into the orbits observed today through gravitational interactions, most notably with the gas giant planets. But even with planetary scattering, the comet's aphelion, the point where it is farthest from the Sun, should remain near the ecliptic. Other, external forces are needed to explain the observed distribution. The solar system does not exist in isolation; the gravitational field of the Milky Way Galaxy in which the solar system resides also exerts a small but non-negligible influence. Arika Higuchi, an assistant professor at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Japan and previously a member of the NAOJ RISE Project, studied the effects of the galactic gravity on long-period comets through analytical investigation of the equations governing orbital motion. She showed that when the galactic gravity is taken into account, the aphelia of long-period comets tend to collect around two planes. First the well-known ecliptic, but also a second "empty ecliptic." The ecliptic is inclined with respect to the disk of the Milky Way by about 60 degrees. The empty ecliptic is also inclined by 60 degrees but in the opposite direction. Higuchi calls this the "empty ecliptic" based on mathematical nomenclature and because initially, it contains no objects, only later being populated with scattered comets. Higuchi confirmed her predictions by cross-checking with numerical computations carried out in part on the PC Cluster at the Center for Computational Astrophysics of NAOJ. Comparing the analytical and computational results to the data for long-period comets listed in NASA's JPL Small-Body Database showed that the distribution has two peaks, near the ecliptic and empty ecliptic as predicted. This is a strong indication that the formation models are correct and long-period comets formed on the ecliptic. However, Higuchi cautions, "The sharp peaks are not exactly at the ecliptic or empty ecliptic planes, but near them. An investigation of the distribution of observed small bodies has to include many factors. Detailed examination of the distribution of long-period comets will be our future work. The all-sky survey project known as the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) will provide valuable information for this study." (ANI)
Astronomers determine how disk galaxies evolve so smoothly - Devdiscourse
Computer simulations are showing astrophysicists how massive clumps of gas within galaxies scatter some stars from their orbits, eventually creating the smooth, exponential fade in the brightness of many galaxy disks.
Computer simulations are showing astrophysicists how massive clumps of gas within galaxies scatter some stars from their orbits, eventually creating the smooth, exponential fade in the brightness of many galaxy disks. Researchers from Iowa State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and IBM Research have advanced studies they started nearly 10 years ago. They originally focused on how massive clumps in young galaxies affect star orbits and create galaxy disks featuring bright centers fading to dark edges. (As Curtis Struck, an Iowa State professor of physics and astronomy, wrote in a 2013 research summary: "In galaxy disks, the scars of a rough childhood, and adolescent blemishes, all smooth away with time.") Now, the group has co-authored a new paper that says their ideas about the formation of exponential disks apply to more than young galaxies. It's also a process that is robust and universal in all kinds of galaxies. The exponential disks, after all, are common in spiral galaxies, dwarf elliptical galaxies, and some irregular galaxies. How can astrophysicists explain that? By using realistic models to track star scattering within galaxies, "We feel we have a much deeper understanding of the physical processes that resolve this almost-50-year-old key problem," Struck said. Gravitational impulses from massive clumps alter the orbits of stars, the researchers found. As a result, the overall star distribution of the disk changes, and the exponential brightness profile is a reflection of that new stellar distribution. The astrophysicists' findings are reported in a paper just published online by the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Co-authors are Struck; Jian Wu, an Iowa State doctoral student in physics and astronomy; Elena D'Onghia, an associate professor of astronomy at Wisconsin; and Bruce Elmegreen, a research scientist at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. Stars are scattered, disks are smoothed The latest computer modelling - led by Wu - is a capstone topping years of model improvements, Struck said. Previous models treated the gravitational forces of galaxy components more approximately, and researchers studied fewer cases. The latest models show how star clusters and clumps of interstellar gases within galaxies can change the orbits of nearby stars. Some star-scattering events significantly change star orbits, even catching some stars in loops around massive clumps before they can escape to the general flow of a galaxy disk. Many other scattering events are less powerful, with fewer stars scattered and orbits remaining more circular. "The nature of the scattering is far more complex than we previously understood," Struck said. "Despite all this complexity on small scales, it still averages out to the smooth light distribution on large scales." The models also say something about the time it takes for these exponential galaxy disks to form, according to the researchers' paper. The types of clumps and initial densities of the disks affect the speed of the evolution, but not the final smoothness in brightness. Speed, in this case, is a relative term because the timescales for these processes are billions of years. Over all those years, and even with model galaxies where stars are initially distributed in a variety of ways, Wu said the models show the ubiquity of the star-scattering-to-exponential-falloff process. "Stellar scattering is very general and universal," he said. "It works to explain the formation of exponential disks in so many cases." (ANI)
Science News Roundup: COVID often goes undiagnosed in hospital workers; Long neglected after landmark discovery and more - Devdiscourse
COVID-19 often undiagnosed in frontline hospital workers Long neglected after landmark discovery, armored dinosaur finally gets its due When the bones of the early armored dinosaur Scelidosaurus were unearthed in 1858 in west Dorset, England, they comprised …
Following is a summary of current science news briefs. COVID-19 often goes undiagnosed in hospital workers; virus may impair heart functions The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. COVID-19 often undiagnosed in frontline hospital workers. Long neglected after landmark discovery, armored dinosaur finally gets its due When the bones of the early armored dinosaur Scelidosaurus were unearthed in 1858 in west Dorset, England, they comprised the first complete dinosaur skeleton ever identified. But aside from cursory papers by pioneering British paleontologist Richard Owen in 1861 and 1863 that incompletely described its anatomy, Scelidosaurus was long neglected despite the landmark nature of its discovery. Scientists see downsides to top COVID-19 vaccines from Russia, China High-profile COVID-19 vaccines developed in Russia and China share a potential shortcoming: They are based on a common cold virus that many people have been exposed to, potentially limiting their effectiveness, some experts say. CanSino Biologics' vaccine, approved for military use in China, is a modified form of adenovirus type 5, or Ad5. The company is in talks to get emergency approval in several countries before completing large-scale trials, the Wall Street Journal reported last week.
Cambridge university aims for autumn trials of coronavirus vaccine after UK funding - Devdiscourse
The University of Cambridge is aiming to start clinical trials of its possible coronavirus vaccine in the autumn after it received 1.9 million pounds ($2.5 million) in funding from the British government, the university said on Wednesday.
The University of Cambridge is aiming to start clinical trials of its possible coronavirus vaccine in the autumn after it received 1.9 million pounds ($2.5 million) in funding from the British government, the university said on Wednesday. The scientists behind the vaccine said their approach, which uses genetic sequences of all known coronaviruses to hone the immune response, could help avoid the adverse effects of a hyper-inflammatory immune response. "We're looking for chinks in its armour, crucial pieces of the virus that we can use to construct the vaccine to direct the immune response in the right direction," Jonathan Heeney, head of the Laboratory of Viral Zoonotics at the University of Cambridge, said. "Ultimately we aim to make a vaccine that will not only protect from SARS-CoV-2, but also other related coronaviruses that may spill over from animals to humans." No vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus which causes COVID-19 has yet been proven clinically effective, though 30 that use a range of technologies are in human trials already. The Cambridge candidate, DIOS-CoVax2, is DNA based. Computer-generated antigen structures are encoded by synthetic genes, which can then re-programme the body's immune system to produce antibodies against the coronavirus. This DNA vector method has been shown to be safe and effective at stimulating an immune response in other pathogens in early stage trials, the university said. Although it is operating at a later timetable than some other vaccine candidates, the DIOS-CoVax2 shot would not need to be stored at cold temperatures and could be delivered without needles, possibly making the widespread distribution of the vaccine easier. "This could be a major breakthrough in being able to give a future vaccine to huge numbers of people across the world," said Saul Faust, Director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility. ($1 = 0.7611 pounds)
ARIES observes many such galaxies using 1.3-meter DFOT and GMRT - Devdiscourse
According to the study conducted by the ARIES team, the 1420.40 MHz images of several intense star-forming dwarf galaxies indicated that hydrogen in these galaxies is very disturbed.
Amidst the billions of galaxies in the universe, a large number are tiny ones 100 times less massive than our own Milky-way galaxy. While most of these tiny tots called dwarf galaxies form stars at a much slower rate than the massive ones, some dwarf galaxies are seen forming new stars at a mass-normalized rate 10-100 times more than that of the Milky-way galaxy. These activities, however, do not last longer than a few tens of million-years, a period which is much shorter than the age of these galaxies - typically a few billion years. Scientists observing dozens of such galaxies using two Indian telescopes have found that the clue to this strange behaviour of these galaxies lies in the disturbing hydrogen distribution in these galaxies and also in recent collisions between two galaxies. To understand the nature of star formation in dwarf galaxies astronomers Dr Amitesh Omar and his former student Dr Sumit Jaiswal from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), an autonomous institute of Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India observed many such galaxies using the 1.3-meter Devasthal Fast Optical Telescope (DFOT) near Nainital and the Giant Meter wave Radio Telescope (GMRT). While the former operating at optical wavelengths sensitive to detect optical line radiation emanating from the ionized Hydrogen, in the latter 30 dishes of 45-meter diameter, each worked in tandem and produced sharp interferometric images via spectral line radiation at 1420.40 MHz coming from the neutral Hydrogen in galaxies. Star formation at a high rate requires a very high density of Hydrogen in the galaxies. According to the study conducted by the ARIES team, the 1420.40 MHz images of several intense star-forming dwarf galaxies indicated that hydrogen in these galaxies is very disturbed. While one expects a nearly symmetric distribution of hydrogen in well-defined orbits in galaxies, hydrogen in these dwarf galaxies is found to be irregular and sometimes not moving in well-defined orbits. Some hydrogen around these galaxies is also detected in forms of isolated clouds, plumes, and tails as if some other galaxy recently has collided or brushed away with these galaxies, and gas is scattered as debris around the galaxies. The optical morphologies sometimes revealed multiple nuclei and high concentration of ionized hydrogen in the central region. Although galaxy-galaxy collision was not directly detected, various signatures of it were revealed through radio, and optical imaging and these are helping to build up a story. The research, therefore, suggests that recent collisions between two galaxies trigger intense star formation in these galaxies. The findings of this research with detailed images of 13 galaxies will be appearing in the forthcoming issue of Monthly Notices of Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS) Journal published by the Royal Astronomical Society, the U.K. It will help astronomers to understand the formation of stars and evolution of less massive galaxies in the Universe. (With Inputs from PIB)
CDC head warns pregnant women with COVID-19 face greater risks - Devdiscourse
The CDC has found that pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to the ICU and to be put on mechanical ventilators than non-pregnant women, he said. Redfield said that more infections among young people in Florida and Texas could partly be attributed to…
Pregnant women have increased risk of severe COVID-19 compared to women who are not pregnant, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention Robert Redfield told reporters on Thursday, warning that states with rising coronavirus cases need to take action. The CDC has found that pregnant women are more likely to be admitted to the ICU and to be put on mechanical ventilators than non-pregnant women, he said. Redfield said that more infections among young people in Florida and Texas could partly be attributed to an increase in diagnosing illness among that group, whose members are less likely to be hospitalized than older people. He said the agency plans to use social media platform Tik Tok to try to reach young people with warnings to keep a distance of 6 feet, wear a face covering and avoid large gatherings.
C'garh:Cloudy skies hamper clear view of partial solar eclipse - Devdiscourse
He said the complete "ring of fire", which is part of an annular solar eclipse, was not visible in Raipur. In view of coronavirus lockdown, no joint sessions were organised this time for viewing the celestial event, Chakradhari said.
A partial solar eclipse was seen in Chhattisgarh on Sunday but a clear view was blocked by cloudy skies and rains in parts of the state. The complete "ring of fire" was not visible in Raipur during the eclipse period from 10.24 am to 1.58 pm. "A partial solar eclipse with 70 per cent visibility was seen in Raipur and in many cities of the state, whereas full eclipse was visible in the northern part of the country," Senior Assistant Professor, department of Astrophysics at Pt Ravishankar Shukla University, Dr NK Chakradhari told PTI. He said the complete "ring of fire", which is part of an annular solar eclipse, was not visible in Raipur. In view of coronavirus lockdown, no joint sessions were organised this time for viewing the celestial event, Chakradhari said. He said solar filter glasses were provided to astronomy enthusiasts and students in Raipur for viewing the eclipse. "However, cloudy weather conditions and rainfall in some parts of the state, particularly in the south (Bastar region), hampered a clear view of the eclipse for sky gazers," Chakradhari said. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the angular diameter of the Moon falls short of that of the Sun so that it cannot cover up the latter completely. As a result, a ring of the Sun's disk remains visible around the Moon. This gives an image of a ring of fire. Meanwhile, several people from Raipur and surrounding areas performed rituals during the eclipse. Anti-superstition activist Dr Dinesh Mishra said myths like confining oneself to his house during the eclipse and not eating food etc have no scientific basis. "We tried to make people aware through digital platforms this time that it is a celestial event and should not be linked with any superstition," said Mishra..
ICMR installs sophisticated COVID-19 testing machine to ramp up tests in Patna - Devdiscourse
At present the RMRIMS is testing around 2,000 samples per day with the help of 4 RT-PCR machines, with 25 people working 24 x 7 in three shifts. After the COVID-19 spread is controlled, the machine can also be used to detect other pathogens such as viral hep…
A sophisticated COVID-19 testing machine has been installed by the ICMR at the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS) here for carrying out faster testing of samples. The COBAS 6800 machine, capable of conducting up to 1,500 tests per day, would help ramp up testing facility in Patna, a top official of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said in a press release. The machine, enabled with robotics, minimises the chance of contamination as well as the risk of infection to healthcare workers since it can be operated remotely with limited human intervention. "This is the first facility of its kind in Bihar and will help in capacity building of COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory in the institute," Prof Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR, said in the release. The move will help increase the testing capacity in Bihar, which needs testing in high numbers as migrants are coming to the state from different parts of the country, said Bhargava. At present the RMRIMS is testing around 2,000 samples per day with the help of 4 RT-PCR machines, with 25 people working 24 x 7 in three shifts. After the COVID-19 spread is controlled, the machine can also be used to detect other pathogens such as viral hepatitis B and C, HIV, mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), cytomegalovirus (CMV), chlamydia, neisseria and dengue, the release said. The RMRIMS, so far, has tested close to 65,000 samples.